If you're the page manager of a Facebook page, especially one that's popular, you've likely encountered the issue of dealing with duplicates pages either from your own organization's mishaps, excited fan communities or even from copycats.
The process of handling duplicate Facebook pages is probably one of the least "sexy" aspects of using social media, despite it being essential for your company's presence on the social network.
It's likely one of the more frustrating things a community manager has to deal with, since the process of reporting duplicates and removing them isn't always easy and can be a time consuming aspect of your Facebook marketing.
It's Not an Isolated Problem
According to The Next Web, 5.5% and 11.2% of all Facebook accounts are fake, which can account for 67.65 to 137.76 million fake accounts being used every month. These fake accounts include both Facebook profiles and pages, sometimes misrepresenting both individuals or businesses.
Your business isn't alone, even the most well-known, largest organizations on Facebook deal with issues related to duplicate pages.
For example, a search for the Kmart's Facebook Page reveals the many other pages that exist on Facebook that are either community-run, copycat, or duplicates of pages for the chain's many store locations.
Some businesses have an official verified badge at the top of their page that helps clarify the validity of their page and gives them priority on Facebook search, but many other businesses aren't as lucky enough to have access to this feature, especially small to medium size businesses, to clarify which page officially represents their business.
Regularly dealing with the duplicate Facebook pages of your business is important since they can potentially misrepresent your company, distract Facebook users from your official messaging on the social network, could affect the effectiveness of your Facebook advertising and litter Facebook search results with the wrong listings.
To appropriately deal with this issue, Facebook offers a reporting feature that lets you merge duplicate pages with your own pages that official represent your business. However, this process can be easier said then done.
How to Report Duplicate Pages You Manage
The best-case scenario when merging duplicate pages is when you are already the manager of the pages you wish to duplicate. This is very easily done, especially if there was a mistake internally with setting up more than one page for a part, department, product line, brand, or location of your business.
Simply visit this form on Facebook and fill it out to merge duplicate pages that you've got ownership of. This form gives you the option to merge up to five pages with one of your pages, which will take anywhere from five seconds to 48 hours in my experience. You'll be alerted to the merging of your pages with an e-mail that looks something like this.
Once merged, the page that you've decided to keep will gain all the likes and check-ins from the other pages that were merged with it, while all the content like photos, Facebook posts, and all other data from the other pages will be deleted.
There shouldn't be any issues with merging pages that you already manage on behalf of your business. To prevent any potential issues, make sure that the Facebook pages being merged are a match in terms of their overall subject matter including name, about section, and the description of the page.
As the page manager, these sections can easily be changed to match one another on the duplicate page and make it more likely it will merge with the correct page without issue. It's important to highlight that the Facebook pages represent the same things as expressed in the examples given by Facebook below:
Examples of acceptable merge requests:
- "Jane Smith BodyArt" into "Jane Smith Body Art"
- "Chris' Cupcakes - Austin" into "Chris' Cupcakes"
- "Photography by Kat" into "Photography by Kat Camera"
Examples of merge requests that require a 14-day waiting period:
- "The Spa at Hotel" into "Hotel"
- "Facebook" into "Facebook Chat"
- "Sheryl Cooper" into "Sheryl Cooper's Accounting Service"
Examples of merge requests that can't be processed:
- "Fans of Facebook" into "Facebook"
If you're continuing to have difficulty merging Facebook pages that you own since they aren't similar enough, submit your request through this form that will enter you into a 14-day waiting period before a decision is made into whether your pages should be merged or not. This form is also accessible if you visit the "settings" section at the top header of your Facebook page and select "merge pages."
How to Report Duplicate Pages You Don't Currently Manage
When there's a duplicate page that you don't currently manage the process requires a few more steps to complete. First, start by visiting the duplicate page that is currently misrepresenting your business. To fix this, you've got to gain ownership of the duplicate page to allow your team to merge it properly.
On the top right hand side of any Facebook page with the latest layout as of summer 2014, locate where it says "like," "follow," and "message." To the right of those buttons is another with three dots, click on it and scroll down the menu that pops out to reveal a "report page" option. Click on the "report page" option to reveal the following menu of options about why you'd like to report the particular page for being a duplicate.
Choose the "duplicate" or "miscategorized page" option to highlight that the page is a duplicate, then type in the name of your page and report it by clicking "submit." From here, it's up to Facebook to decide if this page is a duplicate of one of your pages or not. If they regard it as a duplicate, they'll alert you and give your business access or simply merge the page with your correct page.
When you've reported a duplicate page you don't have access to, you'll see that you have an option to learn more about what your business can do in terms of your intellectual rights, trademarks, and other legal standings Facebook is attempting to address here.
After reviewing the various options laid out by the above legal page and if you're still looking for options to remove a particular page, then report it as a copyright or trademark infringement in order to take stronger action to take it down.
In some cases, a page might not be managed by anyone and will require your proof of ownership over the particular destination to gain control of it. When this is the case, especially with a Facebook place page, you'll click on the gear drop down menu to see "is this your business" as an option.
After that, you'll be asked to verify that you're an official representative of the page you're trying to gain ownership of by agreeing to their terms. Once you've checked the box, you'll be asked to enter the name of your business, address, your job title, phone number, and website. Not all of these fields are required, but it's important to streamline the process by providing as much information as possible to Facebook.
Lastly, you'll have to verify your connection to the business by either connecting your business email address to your Facebook account or supplying proper documentation about your business. If you decide to go with the option of supplying your email, simply select it from the drop down menu if it's already connected from your account or add it to your account directly from the form.
If you decide to upload documentation instead, either upload a utility bill or phone bill, business license, business tax file, certificate of formation or articles of incorporation as a doc, docx, pdf, jpg, jpeg or png file.
Once either form of verification is submitted then you've got to wait to hear back from Facebook about the pages you're trying to become the manager of. If you're able to gain control of stray Facebook pages and duplicates representing your brand, then begin to merge them with your official pages by following the instructions in the previous section of the article.
Lastly, if you manage profiles on Facebook that represent businesses instead of pages, make sure to convert them into Facebook pages to properly represent your organization on the network using this form. This process is irreversible, make sure your team is 100% confident in its choices to convert profiles into pages.
Has your business had issues dealing with duplicate Facebook pages? List your experiences below and share what process your business took to deal with this common Facebook issue.